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The End

Photo may be subject to copyright: The End, late 1967. Left to right: John Horton, Hugh Attwooll, Dave Brown, Colin Giffin and Nicky Graham

Colin Giffin – guitar, saxophone, vocals

Nicky Graham – organ, vocals

Dave Brown – bass, vocals

John Horton – saxophone

Roger Groom – drums

Formed around May 1965, The End brought together musicians from two Surrey bands. Giffin and Brown had first worked together in 1961, playing with Bobby Angelo & The Tuxedos, who also included Groom before he joined The Nashville Teens.

During 1963, Giffin and Brown joined Mike Berry’s new band, The Innocents who toured with The Rolling Stones on two national tours in 1964, during which time they befriended Bill Wyman who would later produce The End.

On 18 November 1964, the pair brought in Groom (who’d been replaced by Barry Jenkins in The Nashville Teens) and keyboard player Graham from Dickie Pride & The Original Topics to record two tracks at RG Jones studio in Morden. The recordings, which were not released until 1996, paved the way for The End a few months later.

Nicky Graham on keyboards with The Original Topics. Photo: Malcolm Penn

Graham had previously played with Kingston upon Thames area bands, including The Electrons and The Classics.

1965

During March/April 1965, the same quartet recorded six more songs, which all remained unreleased until 1996.

John Horton far right. Thanks to Alan Collins for the photo

Completed with sax player John Horton, who’d worked with Kingston upon Thames group The Outsiders and then Dickie Pride & The Original Topics, The End initially backed singers Kenny Lynch and Helen Shapiro.

On 26 August 1965, The End recorded Brown and Giffin’s “I Can’t Get Any Joy” and “Hey Little Girl” with Bill Wyman and Glyn Johns producing. They also cut the pair’s “Searching for My Baby”, which was shelved until 1996.

24 September 1965 – Astoria, Finsbury Park, north London with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Tottenham Weekly Herald)

May be gig missing on 25 September 1965

26 September 1965 – Colston Hall, Bristol with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

27 September 1965 – Odeon, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

28 September 1965 – Capitol Cinema, Cardiff, Wales with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

29 September 1965 – Granada, Shrewsbury with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

May be gig missing on 30 September 1965

1 October 1965 – ABC Chester, Cheshire with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

2 October 1965 – ABC Wigan, Lancashire with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

3 October 1965 – Odeon Manchester with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

4 October 1965 – Gaumont, Bradford, West Yorkshire with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

5 October 1965 – ABC Carlisle, Cumbria with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

6 October 1965 – Odeon Glasgow, Scotland with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

7 October 1965 – City Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne  & Wear with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

8 October 1965 – ABC Stockton-on-Tees with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

9 October 1965 – Odeon, Leeds, West Yorkshire with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

10 October 1965 – Empire, Liverpool with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

11 October 1965 – Gaumont, Sheffield, South Yorkshire with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

12 October 1965 – Gaumont, Doncaster, South Yorkshire with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

The End with Bill Wyman, October 1965. Left to right: John Horton, Nicky Graham, Dave Brown, Bill Wyman, Roger Groom and Colin Giffin

13 October 1965 – De Montfort Hall, Leicester with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

14 October 1965 – Odeon Birminingham with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

15 October 1965 – ABC Cambridge with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

16 October 1965 – ABC Northampton with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

17 October 1965 – Granada, Tooting, southwest London with The Rolling Stones, The Spencer Davis Group, The Checkmates, Unit 4 Plus 2, Ray Cameron and Charles Dickens & The Habits (Beat Instrumental)

On 22 October 1965, Philips released “I Can’t Get Any Joy” c/w “Hey Little Girl” as a single, but it failed to chart.

5 November 1965 – Cricketers Inn, Southend, Essex with The Orioles (Southend Standard and Essex Weekly Advertiser) Billed as Mike Berry & The End

During December 1965, The End toured with singer Billie Davis and former Presidents’ drummer Eddie Patterson played some of the dates (either replacing Groom or filling in for him).

4 December 1965 – Coronation Ballroom, Ramsgate, Kent with The Cygnets (East Kent Times) They backed Billie Davis

24 December 1965 – The Dolphin, Marine Court, St Leonards, East Sussex with Curtis and Co (Roger Bistow’s research at Dizzy Tiger Music website)

Photo may be subject to copyright. The End, late 1965. Left to right: John Horton, Roger Groom, Nicky Graham (sitting), Dave Brown and Colin Giffin

1966

4 February 1966 – Parkside Hall, Ampthill, Bedfordshire with The Donna Boys (Luton News) They backed Billie Davis

Roger Groom left to replace Barry Jenkins in The Nashville Teens and Hugh Attwooll took over drums.

Around the same time, Gordon “Gordie” Smith took over from John Horton on saxophone.

Photo: John Treais

10 April 1966 – Bluesette Club, Leatherhead, Surrey (Poster from John Treais) Billed as The Ends

30 April 1966 – Tiles, Oxford Street, central London with The Anteeks (Melody Maker)

14 May 1966 – House of Eden, Witham Public Hall, Witham, Essex with The Solents (Essex County Standard) Says The End are going on Stevie Wonder tour in June 1966

29 May 1966 – Tiles, Oxford Street, central London with The Next Move and The Knack (Melody Maker)

 

4 June 1966 – Starlight Ballroom, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Keith Powell and Billie Davis, The Manchester Playboys, The Humperdinks and The Ferryboys (Lincolnshire Standard)

4 June 1966 – 76 Club, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire (Live Music website)

17 June 1966 – The Dolphin, Marine Court, St Leonards, East Sussex (Roger Bistow’s research at Dizzy Tiger Music website)

25 June 1966 – Tiles, Oxford Street, central London with The New York Public Library and The Carl Douglas Set (Melody Maker)

 

3 July 1966 – Dungeon Club, Nottingham (website: https://dungeonmods.wordpress.com/)

28 July 1966 – Blue Triangle Club, Ealing, London (Fabulous 208)

 

2-8 August 1966 – Cedar Club, Birmingham (Fabulous 208)

6 August 1966 – 76 Club, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire (Live Music website)

 

14 October 1966 – 76 Club, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire (Live Music website)

18-23 October 1966 – Cleopatra Clubs, Cardiff, Wales and Bristol, Avon (Fabulous 208) Backing Elkie Brooks

31 October 1966 – Supreme Ballroom, Ramsgate, Kent (East Kent Times)

Photo may be subject to copyright. The End’s debut Spanish 45, 1967. Clockwise from bottom left: Nicky Graham, Hugh Attwooll, Dave Brown, Gordon Smith and Colin Giffin

On 1 November 1966, The End recorded a cover of Joe Tex’s “You Better Believe It Baby” and Don Covay and Ron Miller’s “Please Do Something” with Bill Wyman producing. The two tracks were paired for a Spanish 45.

According to Nicky Graham, The End played in Zemmat in Switzerland for three weeks over the Christmas period.

Photo may be subject to copyright. The End, 1967. Left to right: Nicky Graham, Colin Giffin, Hugh Attwooll, Dave Brown and Gordon Smith

Smith’s former neighbour Sandra Le Brocq, a dancer/choreographer, was working for Spanish record label Sonoplay, and instrumental in setting the group up with three months’ of work in Spain in March 1967.

1967

21 January 1967 – Silver Blades, Streatham, southwest London (Peckham & Dulwich Advertiser/Clapham Advertiser)

11 February 1967 – Alkham Social Club, Alkham Village Hall, Kent (Folkestone & Hythe Gazette)

On 24 February 1967, The End recorded Dave Brown and Colin Giffin’s “Why” and “Yo-Yo” with Bill Wyman producing.

Photo may be subject to copyright

In March, The End moved to Madrid and played in Spain for three months. Soon after arriving, Sonoplay paired the two latest recordings as a single.

16 June 1967 – Silver Blades, Streatham, southwest London (Peckham & Dulwich Advertiser/Clapham Advertiser)

5 July 1967 – Steryodelik Dance, Church Hall, Easthampstead, Berkshire (Bracknell News)

On 12 July (possibly while Hugh Attwooll still in Spain), The End with Chris Winters on drums recorded Brown, Giffin and Graham’s “We’ve Got It Made” with Bill Wyman producing at RG Studio in Morden. The track, however, was shelved until 1996. 

Gordon Smith meanwhile had remained in Spain and would leave the band when they returned to the UK.

7 August 1967 – Worsley Civic Hall, Greater Manchester with Richard Kent Style (Bolton Evening News)

On 17 August, The End recorded a cover of Bonnie Dobson and Tim Rose’s “Morning Dew” with Graham’s former band mate from The Original Topics’ Lennie Neldrett guesting on lead guitar.

Photo may be subject to copyright

Around September/October, The End recorded a cover of Don Covay’s “Daddy Loves Baby” with Bill Wyman producing which was shelved until 1996. 

Guitarist Terry Taylor, who had met The End in Spain during spring 1967 while playing with London bands The High Society and The Mode (the latter recorded a lone 45 for Sonoplay) appeared on Giffin’s “Little Annie” around this time but the track remained unreleased until 1997.

Photo may be subject to copyright

On 4 September, the band recorded Bill Wyman and Pete Gosling’s “Loving, Sacred Loving”, which had previously been cut by Moon’s Train, at Olympic Studios in Barnes with Wyman producing.

Photo may be subject to copyright. John Horton (centre) returns briefly in late 1967

On 8 November, with John Horton briefly back in the fold, the group recorded Bill Wyman and Pete Gosling’s “Shades of Orange” with Bill Wyman producing at Olympic in Barnes.

The track, which had previously been cut with Gosling’s band Moon’s Train (featuring Graham’s old band mate Malcolm Penn from The Original Topics on drums) was shelved and released in 1996. Charlie Watts from The Rolling Stones played tabla on the recording.

Photo may be subject to copyright

1968

John Horton, who was pictured extensively with The End during this period and would appear on the cover of the band’s LP (he also came up with the original sleeve design) left around early March and Terry Taylor (who had been living in Sweden after leaving The Mode) joined on lead guitar. Horton is mentioned in an article printed in the Daily Mirror on 29 February entitled “The Beginning of The End”.

According to Melody Maker, “Shades of Orange” (featuring Horton on sax) was released on 9 March.

Photo may be subject to copyright. The End late 1967 before John Horton (far left) departed for a second time.

Ten days later, on 19 March, The End began to record material at Decca’s studio in West Hampstead (and also Olympic Studios in Barnes) that subsequently appeared on their Introspection LP. Produced by Bill Wyman, the sessions continued up until late June but the LP was delayed and finally released in November 1969.

On 24 April, The End recorded the Brown/Giffin/Graham/Taylor collaboration “Building up a Dream”, which remained unreleased until 1997.

On 25 May, the band recorded Brown and Graham’s “Today Tomorrow”, another track that is shelved until 1997.

Photo may be subject to copyright

In June, sessions for the band’s LP wrapped up. The track “She Said Yeah” featured sax player Ken Leeman from Moon’s Train and Taylor’s former Mode compatriot Jim Henderson on harmony vocal.

8 November 1968 – Regal Ballroom, Bonnyrigg, Scotland with The Flirtations and Cream Puff War (South Midlothian Advertiser)

30 November 1968 – Middle Earth, Covent Garden, London with The Pretty Things and Auriel (Melody Maker)

In December, Giffin left for a solo career and Attwooll returned to Spain and worked with Miguel Rios among others.

New drummer Paul Francis had previously played with Tony Jackson & The Vibrations, The Stuart James Inspiration and Pepper among others.

Returning to Madrid, The End played at JJs and Piccadilly.

1969

Having returned to England, the new line-up recorded the group composition “Son of Lightning” with Bill Wyman producing at Olympic Studios on 4 March. The track was left in the can and finally released in 1999.

9 March 1969 – Toby Jug, Tolworth, southwest London (Kingston & Malden Borough News)

 

1 April 1969 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, north London with Led Zeppelin and Pale Green Limousine (Melody Maker)

On 3 April, The End recorded another group composition “Second Glance”, which wasn’t released until 1999. Another band collaboration “North Thames Gas Board” cut on 15 April likewise was shelved until 1999. The track featured Ian Stewart guesting on piano.

During May, The End appeared at the Star Club in Hamburg, sharing the bill with The Ace Kefford Stand (featuring Cozy Powell on drums).

Returning to the UK in June, The End headed back to Spain for several months during which time they toured backing Billie Davis. During this time, Th End backed Spanish singer Miguel Rios on his LP Despierta.

Photo may be subject to copyright

On 10 December, The End recorded two band collaborations that were shelved at the time: “So Free” and “My Friend”. The latter was re-cut by Tucky Buzzard.

1970

On 23 January, The End cut the group collaboration “Turn on Waterstone”, which was finally released in 1999.

On 13 February, the band laid down another band co-write “Mistress Bean” with session guitarist Chris Spedding guesting on the track. Taylor’s “For Eleanor” was recorded the next day but like “Mistress Bean” it was shelved until 1999.

Photo may be subject to copyright. The End, 1970. Left to right: Nicky Graham, Terry Taylor, Paul Francis, Dave Brown and Jim Henderson

Shortly afterwards, Taylor introduced his former band mate from The Mode, Jim Henderson as a front man. The group returned to Spain and changed name to Tucky Buzzard.

A huge thanks to David Wells and his superb sleeve notes to the must-have End CD compilation “From Beginning to End”, which has details on the recording dates.

Paul Francis’ excellent book “Drumming up Vibrations” also has a wealth of information.

Thanks also to Malcolm Penn and Eddie Patterson for information.

Copyright © Nick Warburton. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without prior permission from the author.

 

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The Original Topics (with Dickie Pride)

Photo: Malcolm Penn

Dave Atkey (bass and lead vocals)

Len Neldrett (lead guitar)

Nicky Graham (organ)

John Horton (baritone sax)

Bernie Greenwood (tenor and alto sax)

Malcolm Penn (drums)

+

Dickie Pride (lead vocals)

Formed from musicians drawn from the Tolworth, Surbiton and Chessington area of Surrey in April 1964, The Original Topics evolved out of the final version of The Classics and added John Horton from The Outsiders.

Len Neldrett and Malcolm Penn had both attended Surbiton County Grammar and had earlier played in rival local bands The Gremlins and The Electrons.

In November 1964, Dickie Pride, one of the late 1950s home-grown English rock stars from the Larry Parnes stable, including, among others, Marty Wilde, Billy Fury, Vince Eager, Georgie Fame, Lance Fortune, Duffy Power and Johnny Gentle (John Askew), joined as their new front man. Tragically, he later died of a heroin overdose in 1969

However, around March 1965, Nicky Graham (quickly followed by  John Horton) departed to form The End, a band that developed close links with Rolling Stones’ bass player Bill Wyman. Stan Marut briefly took over from Graham and remembers playing at the Cromwellian while with the group.

Wyman would oversee many of that group’s recordings. He would also remain friends with Nick Graham who later formed Tucky Buzzard and worked with David Bowie in the early 1970s.

In May 1965, Dickie Pride, Len Neldrett and Malcolm Penn  joined a new central London-based outfit called The Sidewinders. Marut meanwhile joined The Jynx Pack and then Julian Covey &  The Machine.

Photo: Malcolm Penn

Selected gigs:

17 July 1964 – Wimbledon Palais, Wimbledon, Surrey with The Searchers and Cats Whiskers (Kingston & Malden Borough News)

25 July 1964 – King George’s Hall, Esher, Surrey with The Yardbirds (Kingston & Malden Borough News)

 

8 August 1964 – Flamingo, Soho, Wardour Street, central London with The Cheynes (Record Mirror)

29 August 1964 – Flamingo, Soho, Wardour Street, central London with Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds (Record Mirror)

 

12 September 1964 – Galaxy Club, Town Hall, Basingstoke, Hampshire with The Westsiders (Hampshire & Berkshire Gazette)

19 September 1964 – Flamingo, Soho, Wardour Street, central London with Dave Davani (Record Mirror)

 

10 October 1964 – Flamingo, Soho, Wardour Street, central London with The Supremes and The Chessmen (Record Mirror)

14 October 1964 – Flamingo, Soho, Wardour Street, central London with Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames (Record Mirror)

17 October 1964  – Flamingo, Soho, Wardour Street, central London with Tony Colton (Live Music website)

31 October 1964 – Le Disque A Go Go, Bournemouth, Dorset with The Nite People – (website: https://bournemouthbeatboom.wordpress.com/)

 

4 November 1964 – Flamingo, Soho, Wardour Street, central London with Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames (Record Mirror)

Dickie Pride joins now

29 November 1964 – North Warnborough Village Hall, North Warnborough, Hampshire (Hampshire & Berkshire Gazette)

 

14 December 1964 – Galaxy Club, Town Hall, Basingstoke, Hampshire with Tommy Quickly & The Remo Four (Hampshire & Berkshire Gazette)

18 December 1964 – Flamingo, Soho, Wardour Street, central London with Rufus Thomas (Record Mirror)

19 December 1964 – Disque a Le Go Go, Landsdowne, Dorset (Bournemouth Evening Echo)

Photo: Malcolm Penn

2 January 1965 – Flamingo, Soho, Wardour Street, central London with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (Record Mirror)

9 January 1965 – Flamingo, Soho, Wardour Street, central London with Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band (Live Music website)

17 January 1965 – Ricky Tick, Windsor, Berkshire (David Else research)

 

3 February 1965 – Flamingo, Soho, Wardour Street, central London with Screaming Jay Hawkins (Record Mirror) Billed as The Topics with Dickie Pride

12 February 1965 – Ricky Tick, Windsor, Berkshire (Poster) Billed as The Topics with Dickie Pride

Thanks to Malcolm Penn for the photo

31 August 1965 – Co-op Hall, Halstead, Essex with Heinz & The Wild Boys, Cops ‘N’ Robbers, The Fairies and Soul Foundations (Essex Chronicle) This is very unlikely unless it was a different band (possibly The Sidewinders?)

Left to right: Len, Dave and Nick. Photo: Malcolm Penn

A huge thanks to Malcolm Penn for providing the background notes and all of the photos for The Original Topics. Thanks to David Else for helping with some gigs from Record Mirror.

Copyright © Nick Warburton. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without prior permission from the author.

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The Outsiders

Thanks to Alan Collins for the photo

Dutch Mills (harmonica/vocals)

Mick Wayne (lead guitar/vocals)

Alan Collins (organ)

John Horton (sax/flute)

Mac Mclldowie (bass)

Tim Easton (drums)

Formed sometime in 1962/1963 in the Tolworth area in Surrey, The Outsiders included guitarist Mick Wayne, who subsequently played with The Hullabaloos, The Bunch of Fives (with Viv Prince) and The Tickle. Wayne formed Junior’s Eyes in early 1968 and later appeared on David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. Collins and Wayne had met at Kingston School of Art.

Mick Brill joined the group in April 1964 after he left The Classics, taking over from McIlldowie. Horton left the same month to join The Original Topics.

Dutch Mills (real name: Nigel Reevely Mills) was close friends with Eric Clapton and had started out with The Dustbowl Refugees.

He adds that Jimmy Page was always around and convinced him to join Bedford band The Authentics sometime in 1964 with whom he recorded a cover of Jackie DeShannon’s “I Don’t Wanna Be Without You”, which was shelved. The Authentics were regulars at the Marquee.

Mills moved to Canada in 1966/1967 and worked with folk singer Vicky Taylor and later Jesse Winchester and Willie Dunn before moving back to the UK in 1990.

With Mills gone, The Outsiders recorded a lone 45 for Decca Records – “Keep on Doing It” c/w “Songs We Sang Last Summer”, which was released on 20 August 1965. Both sides were written by session player Jimmy Page with Mick Wayne. Page also produced the sessions for the single.

Photo may be subject to copyright

 

Brill says The Outsiders started doing sessions for Immediate Records in 1965, which is where he and Collins met singer Doug Gibbons, a singer from Shepherd’s Bush. Gibbons subsequently changed his name to Thane Russal.

Interestingly, Doug Gibbons and The Outsiders were billed to play at the Top Twenty in Bridgwater, Somerset on 5 July 1965.

To clear up one confusion, Mick Wayne was from the Kingston upon Thames area not Hull as is often falsely reported. Brill says that when Wayne joined The Hullabaloos he had to dye his hair blond.

Thanks to David Else for the photo

Together with new drummer Pete Huish and new guitarist Bob Johnson, Thane Russal, Mick Brill and Alan Collins recorded “Security” as Thane Russall & Three.

Brill adds that when the single was released, it was rumoured that Jimmy Page had played on the recording to try and drum up some interest in the single’s release.

However, he explains that it was Bob Johnson. The solo on the recording was achieved by Huish hitting the neck of Johnson’s guitar with a drumstick.

Johnson, who joined in 1966 after Wayne had moved on to The Hullabaloos, departed when Thane Russal & Three landed a contract to travel to Italy in June 1966 and later joined Steeleye Span.

The remaining members decamped to Rome. You can read about the band’s career in Italy here at this excellent site.

A massive thank you to Mick Brill and Alan Collins for providing background notes and band photo. Thanks also to Dutch Mills for further information.

Thanks to David Else for helping with some of the research and providing additional material. 

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The Gremlins

The Gremlins at Hook Community Centre

Howard (Len) Neldrett (lead guitar)

Tony Carter (rhythm guitar)

Mick Brill (bass)

Phil Webster (drums)

Formed by pupils from Surbiton County Grammar in Surrey in 1961, The Gremlins were an instrumentals band that played Shadows and Ventures’ covers.

Mick Brill says that the group didn’t have a singer, but an advert publicising the Grand Final of The Surbiton Borough News’ Rock & Rhythm Group Competition lists Dave Burton as the band’s vocalist (see below).

The competition, which was won by rival band The Electrons, was held at Surbiton Assembly Rooms on 27 April 1962 and also featured The Classics.

Thanks to Malcolm Penn for the photo

In February 1964, Neldrett and Brill both departed to join a new version of The Classics.

Many thanks to Mick Brill and Len Neldrett for the information on the band and thanks to Mick Brill for the group photo.

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Dene Lincoln & The Topics

Thanks to Malcolm Penn for the photo

Dene Lincoln (aka Jim Turner) (vocals)

Pete Cottage (lead guitar)

Tony Humphrys (bass)

Nick Graham (organ)

Malcolm Penn (drums)

Formed in the Tolworth, Surbiton and Chessington area of Surrey in August 1962, Dene Lincoln & The Topics morphed out of earlier band The Electrons, who had included Tony Humprhys, Nick Graham and Malcolm Penn.

Humphrys, however, didn’t stay long and Ricky Ball took over the bass in January 1963.

The musicians continued to gig locally until February 1964 before splitting at which point Graham and Penn joined a new version of local rivals The Classics.

Graham would later play with The End and Tucky Buzzard while Penn worked with The Sidewinders and Moon’s Train.

Many thanks to Malcolm Penn for providing the background notes and band photo.

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The Electrons

Thanks to Malcolm Penn for the photo. The Electrons with Nicky Graham (bottom right) line up

Tony Humphrys aka Tony Lane (vocals)

Baz Hewson (lead guitar)

Malcolm Penn (drums)

Mike Morley (bass)

Pete Mosley (rhythm guitar through to December 1960)

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Nick Graham (rhythm guitar from January 1961)

Formed in May 1960 by musicians from the Tolworth, Surbiton and Chessington area in Surrey, The Electrons evolved out of the ashes of The Grumbling Men, who were formed in March 1959 and had included singer Tony Humphrys, drummer Malcolm Penn, bass player Mike Morley, and rhythm guitarist Pete Mosley.

With the exception of Mike Morley and Pete Mosely, all were pupils at Surbiton County Grammar.

The Grumbling Men featured another guitarist called Keith who was replaced by Baz Hewson when the group became The Electrons.

Nick Graham, who took over from Mosley on rhythm guitar in January 1961, was a student at Surbiton Grammar School (and later Kingston School of Art) and had recently arrived from Durban, South Africa where he was born.

Malcolm Penn says that The Electrons never got to play at Tolworth Toby Jug as they predated its band nights. (Ed. Originally a jazz venue, the Toby Jug did briefly operate as a club for R&B in early 1964 but its owners soon stopped putting rock bands on. It reopened in early March 1968 and became a significant music venue in the area.)

Penn recalls that the band venue in the early 1960s was Kingston Coronation Hall. The hall housed a swimming pool, which was boarded over and turned into a dance venue.

He adds that all the big traditional jazz and dance bands performed there, including Ted Heath, Johnny Dankworth, Eric Delaney, Chris Barber and Kenny Ball. The Electrons, together with a few other local bands, did warm up and interval spots.

Penn remembers The Electrons also played at the Jazz Cellar in Kingston, which was run by Hugh O’Donnell, the Swan in Mill Street, Kingston, the Foresters Hall in Epsom, the Organ Inn on the Ewell Road and Surbiton Assembly Rooms.

In April 1962, The Electrons made the Grand Final of The Surbiton Borough News’ Rock & Rhythm Group Competition, which was held at Surbiton Assembly Rooms on 27 April. Up against local bands, The Gremlins and The Classics, The Electrons won the competition.

Interestingly, over the next few years, members of The Electrons would join up with players from both The Gremlins and The Classics to form a new version The Classics in February 1964.

In August 1962, Malcolm Penn, Nick Graham and Tony Humphrys recruited Jim Turner (stage name Dene Lincoln) on vocals and Pete Cottage from the Streatham area in southwest London to form a new group called Dene Lincoln & The Topics.

In later years Penn would work with Moon’s Train while Graham played with The End and Tucky Buzzard.

A huge thanks to Malcolm Penn for providing the background notes and photos for The Electrons.

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RICK SPRINGFIELD – Karma (1999)

This has been the most anticipated AOR release in years.
Now you should know by now what a fan I am, so prepare yourselves for a long review! But I hope you will find it still fair and a little impartial! But basically, I love it to death, so it will sound like a rave regardless.

It has been a mere 10 years since Rock Of Life was released and a little longer since Rick launched a full scale tour.
Karma has been several years in planning and over 6 months in recording.
A couple of the songs even originate from the recording sessions from 1993/4 that would eventually become the Sahara Snow project.
I have had the great privilege of listening to demo’s to 7 of the 11 tracks on this album for several months now. And even now, this is not quite the album I was expecting. For the most part, this is a Rick Springfield I have not heard before.

I have reported with much enthusiasm that Rick was returning to his hard edged guitar roots, so it may not exactly be what you are expecting either.
Since the demos were recorded, the songs have been radically re-worked, polished up and have been given that unmistakable Rick Springfield hi-tech AOR tweak.
And this is very high tech. There is a mixture of styles on the album, and less of the hard-edged guitar that made Living In Oz a masterpiece, than I expected.
But it is all pure AOR and pure brilliance.
There is absolutely no doubting the quality of the song writing. The lyrics touch on several subjects but remain the most personal of Rick’s career. A legacy of another bout of writer’s block and several years off the road.
The production is just enormous. As expected there are layers upon layers of guitars, keyboards, synthesizers and vocals. In fact despite the ultra-smooth style of the album, the vocals are quite live and raw in places.
A few of the tracks strip it back more, while a few others go completely over the top!
Listening to the production quality here makes me more aware of what we miss sometimes with the smaller labels.

Generally the style seems to be a mix of a general progression from the Rock Of Life era and a sample of songs from the Sahara Snow project.
Mix those and some unexpected new twists and ten years of passing styles and you get a Rick Springfield that is remarkably fresh and original, yet familiar all the same.
The songs have come from a couple of different backgrounds, which is reasonable to expect given the time frame between this and the last album.
The songs can be split into 2 different ‘feels’ because of their background, but despite this there is an unmistakable instrumental theme running through the record and sure familiarity between all the tracks.

I think it could be best explained in that on half the tracks it is the keyboard/synth taking the lead and in the other half it is the guitar and vocal leading.
Mix them up through the album and it makes for interesting listening.
The long awaited album bursts to life with a snap of a high tech drum and a pseudo dance beat and Prayer is away. The vocal is restrained but smooth and quite raw. The style is something similar to Hold On To Your Dream mixed with Woman, both from the Rock of Life disc. There are plenty of layers of synthesizers and the chorus lifts from mid paced balladry to a poppy and uptempo little anthem.

…now I send a prayer to heaven for the chance to be, a better man than the man I see…
The White Room is another big high tech AOR synth ballad, but with a difference. The subject matter is again deep and complex as is the song.
It starts with a electronic drum beat and clear ‘synth’ piano lead that appears through the song.
The vocals have some effects and is moody to say the very least. The chorus jumps from nowhere to a big rock beat with just a raw guitar and sharp electronic drum beat backing the vocal that is totally out of character with the verse of the song. Another highlight of the album. Listen out for some big drums sounds toward the end of the track.
Free is one of the new tracks that I had not been exposed to. This really threw me to the floor. I was not expecting anything like this. This is one of the greatest ballads I have ever heard.
This simply floors them all. Free is a new age influenced soft ballad with a verse with little musical backing besides a soft guitar and background synth, while the chorus features a duel vocal from Rick with him backing himself over some superb soft electric guitar soloing along side. The end of the song features a solo vocal that will just send shivers up your spine.

Itsalwayssomething is the first guitar driven track of the album and the first taste of Rick Springfield in the 90’s. This track is more laid back than the live version that was road tested this US summer, but lacks none of it’s kick. This is probably the most lyrically deep Rick song that I have heard since My Father’s Chair and once again touches on that subject and the pain that went with it.
The vocal is more up front and urgent and very live and contains a real passion. There is duel guitar accompaniment, one being a straight up riff and the other placing a sort of blues tinge to it.
…I’ve been good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory…anytime I stop to smell the roses they drew blood from me…do you know what I mean?…
The song is mid paced, like much of the record, but the chorus again lifts and rocks in it’s own special way. Mid way through there is a great hard edged guitar solo and the song seems to lift to a rockier finish. This is one of the best Rick tunes I have ever heard.
An absolute anthem of a generation.

Religion Of The Heart is another instant classic. The style is the same as Itsalwayssomething. The lyrics are dark and brooding, as is the vocal. The song is very laid back, but guitar driven with some great background organ, and a bluesy lead guitar during the faster chorus.
…You raise your glass, you drink their wine, but you’re still thirsty all the time…no miracles tonight and you’ll skip the midnight masses…
Shock To My System is another ballad, but with a completely different feel to that of Free. This is another synth dominated track and is basically a big big high tech ballad. It starts slow for sure, but the chorus is just huge. Guitars on the chorus only and a vocal that is mixed with effects similar to that of the Sahara Snow ballad ‘Somewhere’. Just bigger!
Karma is another surprise. Along with the rest of the album, it is not a Rick that I have heard before. Karma is a happy song and lyrically about what you would expect…what comes around, goes around.

The songs reminds me a little of Mr. Mister at their best. This is high tech guitar driven rock, but with big effects and a little of that 70’s psychedelic Beatles influenced. The chorus is rocked up by a nice lead guitar that leans back to the blusy style that is imbedded in the style of the album.
…Every bit of love that I give to another…you know what I believe…it comes back to me…
Beautiful Prize is another new track and the first single. Back to the guitar lead, but this time dominated by an acoustic strum that carries this songs along at a fair pace. Electric guitar, bass and organ also are cleanly mixed into the track. The vocal is back to the style I just love – raw, live and clearly passionate.
The song appears one of the happier tracks of the album, yet the subject matter deals with the extremely serious problem of Incest. The lyrics come from a true story told to Rick.
A similar guitar feel to Lust from Sahara Snow.
…In a house full of secrets…the truth doesn’t matter…
In Veronica’s Head is the track that I have the hardest time describing.
Quite simply it is possibly the best hard rocking Rick songs ever. This track is just going to rip when played live. Especially since the finished version is more laid back again from the demo.
Starting with a strong synth/keyboard hook, then moving to an acoustic guitar backing, Rick’s moody vocals start slowly and stay intense thru the short verse, then the instruments drop out…maybe it’s a fact of life… then bang! The vocal rises from nowhere and it’s drums and guitars and vocals going off. Anthem time! But it still isn’t that fast a track. Just intense.
And as easily as the chorus came, it goes again and so we go round for another shot.
This is as good a track as Love Somebody or Affair Of The Heart. The lead solo rips and the song starts stop/starting with a guitar/drum beat, then it’s more guitars and the chorus keeps going and the vocal is very high.
And then, just as you are about to lose your head, it fades to end. Just as well. Play it again…
Ordinary Girl brings us back to earth with a simple country guitar intro and some nice acoustic/electric strumming that carries us through a truly superb and beautiful mid paced rock ballad.

Great electric guitar lead and some great stripped back vocals. Another highlight like Religion Of The Heart and Itsawlayssomething. Nothing like I have heard before.
Act Of Faith is the last ‘new’ track, (if you don’t include the yet to be heard Japanese and US bonus tracks). This is another high tech synth pop ballad like Shock To My System or Prayer.
This time it is a bit softer and more laid back. It ends the album on a soft tone and makes for great late night listening.
An acoustic version of the classic Jessie’s Girl ends the album. This is a great version with plenty of life and some pretty hyperactive acoustic guitar playing. A really enjoyable listen and a fresh spin on the original. How about an acoustic best of?
And that my friends…is that. The return of one of AOR’s most loved individuals and musicians. This album will take some listening to, with a few maybe initially disappointed. It is not a fast paced album, nor is it completely guitar driven.

Regular visitors to this site, who know my love of all things Rick, are probably expecting a 100% score. I am yet to give one. This was tough, but I still decided to go just short of. 99% is the highest score I have ever given an album because frankly, this is the best record I have heard since doing this site and possibly long before it.


But I accept that a more guitar heavy album would have been just that little bit more desirable.
The core band features Rick, Mike Baird and occasionally Jack White on drums, Tim Pierce on guitars and Phil Shenale on organ and keyboards. Stan Bush and Richard Page appear constantly throughout on backing vocals and Jason Scheff guests on Bass also.

If you don’t love this album straight up, I can see no reason why you won’t after a few days as the songs here are infectious and memorable and simply indispensable.
Essential for all.

The post RICK SPRINGFIELD – Karma (1999) appeared first on MelodicRock.com.

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RICK SPRINGFIELD – Songs For The End Of The World (2012)

Perfect. Songs From The End Of The World is a masterpiece. Not just for Rick Springfield fans, but for anyone that can identify with wonderfully crafted modern melodic rock; emotional and energetic power pop; and brilliantly produced music that features layers upon layers of intricately mixed instruments and vocals.

I just can’t fault this album. Some will suggest that’s no real surprise, but despite my dedicated RS fanboy status, in 16 years of covering all Rick’s releases, I am yet to award a perfect score. That’s because I hold Rick at an impossibly high standard based on so many classic albums over the years and I can normally find one or two ways I wish things were a little different.

Karma came close at 99, Shock Denial Anger Acceptance a 93, Sahara Snow scored an 85 and The Day After Yesterday only managed a 73. As you can see, that’s a pretty unbiased set of numbers. But no holding back this time. This album delivers in so many ways and finally lives up to my always high expectations in every department.

I never reviewed Venus In Overdrive formally, as I was the one that signed Rick for the European release with the label I was working A&R for at the time. But it was an absolutely superb album of course and some of the songs within were all-time classics as far as Rick is concerned. The writing partnership with Matt Bissonette really brought the best out in both writers. The album’s first half was absolutely perfect and it was only a couple of ‘left-turns’ on the second half that I think hindered the album’s flow and direction. I would have given it a 95.

No such concerns with Songs From The End Of The World. This is a track for track masterpiece that despite being somewhat diverse still stays on the same musical track throughout.
And as usual, all the trademark Rick Springfield quirks are in play – short choruses followed by longer ones further into the song; out of nowhere bridge diversions; hands in the air sing-along parts and incredibly intelligent and complex song structures on top of deeply thought out lyrics that as always; delve deep into Rick’s psyche.

Karma was an album of personal discovery and reawakening. SDAA was largely an album of angry, bitter songs sung with aggression and resentment. Venus In Overdrive was an album of reflection, which has segued into this new album – which as usual lays bare some of Rick’s personal demons – but this time it is presented in an almost upbeat fashion – as if Rick has come to terms with his life and what it entails and accepts that it is what it is. And these songs are the result.

With an immediately hard hitting riff, Wide Awake is our first taste of Rick as a 63 year old artist existing in 2012. He makes a mockery of his age with a song (and a whole album) of spirited songs oozing energy that some 20 year old kids would have a hard time keeping up with. This song is a bombastic modern hard rocker with layers and layers of music and vocals – and that’s just the verse. The chorus explodes and delivers at least another 2 or 3 layers of guitar parts plus some keyboards. It’s simply immense and his most upbeat intro track since Perfect (2004), Calling All Girls (1982) and Love Is Alright Tonite (1981).

Our Ship’s Sinking defies words. But I’ll try… The intro guitar riff might suggest that it’s 1981 again, but the massive wall of sound says 2012 is here and now. What follows is a brilliant verse vocal that literally explodes into a massive chorus that just gets bigger and better every listen. Then throw in the additional bridge and the whoa, whoa sing-along harmonies and more choruses and it’s simply melodic rock bliss. Words cannot explain how much I love this track.
“If I’m the one that caused your shipwrecked life, then hold my hand right to the fire….” Wow. Rick’s best rock anthem ever?

I Hate Myself is this album’s trademark commercial, big chorus sing-along single. Venus In Overdrive had What’s Victoria’s Secret and SDAA had Will I? Despite the title, I Hate Myself is fun fun fun and the chorus is again a perfect wall of sound with Matt Bissonette’s bass playing in the fore.
You And Me is the album’s big ballad, but even then it rolls along at a pretty decent rate. This is a musically lush modern rock ballad, contrasted by a raw lead vocal until the chorus comes, when things get multi-layered once again and Rick takes on some falsetto harmonies. It would fit alongside One Passenger from VIO nicely.

Gabriel (as in the arc angel) is yet another amazing track, sentimental and emotional and features a vocal that fans of 70s Rick might find familiar. It’s a real throw back to Wait For Night on the verse and the heavy use of acoustic guitars. It is a ballad in sentiment, but quite uptempo overall. The chorus and rest of the song is again layered with acoustic and electric guitars and features a short guitar solo in there too.

A Sign of Life reminds me of I’ll Miss That Someday mixed with Time Stands Still, both from VIO. A thoroughly catchy and melodic modern rocker that is heavier, faster than both previous songs and features an even bigger pop anthem chorus that is as instant as it is complex.
My Last Heartbeat is an effects filled super complex heavy modern rocker with a darker vibe and intent through the verse which is then totally swept away by an ultra-commercial multi-layered anthemic chorus before turning modern again. Complex and wonderful at the same time!
Joshua (this time named after Rick’s son) is the perfect contrast to My Last Heartbeat – a fast paced happy go lucky pop/rockers with a message with a sentimental heart. Typical Rick chorus/bridge/anthem chorus formula.

Love Screws Me Up is a modernized and rocked up version of the Karma offcut that was included in the SDAA Limited Edition (in demo form). The reworking done here is true to the original, but it’s totally made over to fit the style of the rest of the tracks and the multi-layered instrumentation. It fits into the album perfectly and is yet another uptempo sing-along anthem.

I Found You is another truly original and amazing track for Rick. It has the darkness of 3 Warning Shots from VIO, but an even moodier balladesque delivery. Just when you think it’s all dark and questioning lyrically, the chorus blooms with a message of love and dedication in a very commercial hook.

Depravity is another really interesting track – very modern and quite heavy and follows on from the very modern stylings of I Found You, but more uptempo. Super intense, but with another (dark) catchy chorus.

One Way Street is another wow moment for me. This is yet another career highlight as far as I’m concerned for Rick. With the flowing urgency of Bob Seger’s Hollywood Nights and the brooding lyrical intensity of World Start Turning from Rock Of Life, this could almost be Rick’s sequel to that iconic track. The chorus is a complete 180 from the verse, with its modern pop beat and 60s guitar riff underneath, which is followed by yet another hey-hey sing-along passage. Glorious guitar playing, huge chorus and follow-up bridge, plus some inspired lyrics. And the closing minute twenty is just all anthem.

Bonus Tracks:
Let Me In is a really beautiful sentimental ballad with acoustic guitars and keyboards the driving forces behind the song. It has the same emotional vibe as I Found You and You And Me and is well worth finding. Astute fans will recognize the keyboard sound from within the Karma record.
My DUI is a very odd track that takes a few listens to appreciate. It has a groovy hard beat and some intense pissed off lyrics. It has a certain Living In Oz vibe to it believe it or not (the title track to the 1983 album), but thoroughly modernized and filled with effects. The very simple chorus goes from odd to cool after a few listens! And the police siren is back from 3 Warning Shots!

The Bug is almost not a song, clocking in at just 2 minutes precisely. But it’s amazing how much music can be fit into those 2 minutes. This is a super heavy and tuned down uptempo modern rocker, and it still manages a catchy chorus, even if it’s only several seconds long!
I Hate Myself (Acoustic) is just what it says on the tin, a stripped back version with a raw vocal and more emphasis on the submitted fan sung chorus hook. I like. Nice contrast to the original version.


Perfect. For me at least and I hope the majority of Rick fans will agree. The production quality on this record really puts into perspective some other records that I have praised for sounding great (which they still do) – it’s just that this album is so sonically amazing, it takes me back to the glory days when every record had a big kick ass budget and always sounded worth a million bucks. Even then this album would give them a run for their money.

Top that with some wonderful songs and the usual personal lyrical approach you’ve come to expect from Rick and equally impressive contributions from all musicians involved (drummer Rodger Carter and Bassist Matt Bissonette in particular) and you get a well-rounded, engaging, energetic album that as a lifelong fan of Rick’s…I just cannot fault.

The post RICK SPRINGFIELD – Songs For The End Of The World (2012) appeared first on MelodicRock.com.

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